Tuesday 22 August 2017

Varadkar orders blueprint and timeline for the improvement of health service

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Picture: Tom Burke
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Picture: Tom Burke
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has ordered a detailed response with timelines to the blueprint for the improvement of the nation’s health service.

The report of the Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Healthcare sets out far reaching targets including free GP care for all, an end to private practice in public hospitals and shorter waiting times for surgery and specialist appointments.

However, around €700m extra funding a year would be needed if the plan set out in the report is followed.

Speaking at a Dail debate on the report tonight Health Minister Simon Harris said it was a welcome step to have cross party support for a plan.

"The Taoiseach was very clear in his speech to this chamber last week that delivering real improvements in our health services is a key priority for this Government.

"He has tasked me with preparing a detailed response to the report including proposed measures and timelines.

"It is my intention to do so following this Dáil debate. I would hope to bring forward, not just proposals as to how we might gear up for implementation taking account of  existing statutory responsibilities, but also some immediate decisions that we might be able to proceed to implement," he said.

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